As in nature, your work climate also changes. The winter season at your workplace – that work climate of low engagement and resistance to change – will transform under good leadership into the spring season.

[Note: read this article about how to lead in wintry circumstances]

As in nature small signs indicate that spring is around the corner. In nature it might be the first flower bulbs that signal the change. At work place you might notice that people seem to be more engaged, propose a new work method, or simply laugh more.










How do you react to those first signals of change?

As this change is still fragile, don’t lead like a bull in a china shop. Focus on the following skills:

1 – Positive Coaching Conversations

More companies move away from annual reviews and ratings. Research has shown that annual performance reviews don’t act as an agent of change. They don’t boost performance. They can even alienate employees. And you won’t miss all that paperwork and bureaucracy. But what is the alternative?

Positive coaching conversations through the year with an emphasis on one of two options: Encourage an employee to continue doing something or changing something.

[Note: you can read more about this trend and the use of apps here]


2 – Feed forward

In line with this departure from formal performance reviews is the feed forward conversation instead of the feedback one. The difference is that feed forward is a conversation about the future and not about the past. The reason for feed forward is simple: an employee can change what will happen in the future. It’s impossible for them and for all of us to change the past. Feed forward supports learning. Athletes often train using feed forward. A tennis player envisions hitting the tennis ball so that it sails to a deep corner of the court out of reach of their opponent. A football player envisions a successful kick. He won’t prepare by bringing back in his mind all his failed kicks. Learn from those successful athletes and coach employees on how they can be even more successful (as opposed to analyzing a failed past).

3 – Point out the good change

Employees need someone who points out the improvements. They have been sometimes so long in a low engaged environment that they have lost hope for positive change. Illuminate those improvements that they may have overlooked. Of course not to tap yourself on your shoulders or to brag but to change how they look at things. See it like taking visitors from out of town on a nature walk and point out some points of interest to them.

4 – Acknowledge

Acknowledge your champions of change. Acknowledge by a simple “Thank you – card” or text. Be specific about what you are thanking them for. Spend enough time with those agents of change. Make them your priority and not those employees with both feet still in winter.

If the climate in your workplace is changing from a winter to spring, congratulations, your leadership is working.Embrace your skills of coaching, feeding forward, pointing out the positive changes, and acknowledging your change agents.

Coaching Questions Of The Month:

  1. What positive changes have you seen in your team or organization lately?
  2. How do you acknowledge those?